Having their own home is the ultimate dream for many Americans, but it is not always accessible for the average person. At least, that is true if you insist on sticking to the traditional form of real estate. If you have started thinking outside the box, a mobile or manufactured home might be on your list of major investments in the near future!
What is a Manufactured Home?
First of all, it is important to establish the knowledge of just what manufactured housing is. These homes are not like a traditional house or apartment. So, any potential buyer should know absolutely what they are purchasing before signing anything.
Manufactured homes or mobile homes are pre–made structures that come from a factory and set on the desired site. Some might have a mobile home park or manufactured home community as their destination, while others may sit on private property.
Manufactured homes are also considered to be personal property, which means that they usually won’t be eligible for a traditional mortgage. While some manufactured homes might have affordable prices, certain models will still be difficult to buy outright. That is especially true when you go for a double-wide – which is more than twice the size of a single-wide.
A modular home is similar to a mobile home, but it is a more permanent structure. It is also subject to the same building codes as a site-built home. On the other hand, new manufactured homes are subject to the federal code under the Department of Housing and Urban Development or the HUD Code for manufactured homes.
How Much are New Manufactured Homes?
At the end of the day, there is no denying that mobile homes and manufactured homes are more cost–effective than site–built homes (see: mobile home vs. stick-built). The average price range is more in reach, but there are still several factors to consider before buying a new manufactured home.
While it is more conventional to rent space if you can’t afford a traditional home, it might be a wiser financial decision to go for manufactured housing. Before committing to anything though, let’s have a look at the cost breakdown of buying a new manufactured home:
The Average Cost of a Mobile Home Compared to a Site-Built Home
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average sales price of new manufactured homes was around $111,900 as of November 2021. The median sale price of a new site-built home, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis was around $400,600 in February 2022.
However, the actual manufactured home or mobile home cost goes beyond just the median sale price. When you are thinking about how much is a manufactured home, you also have to consider new and used options as well as the sizes available.
For the lowest prices on a decent manufactured home or mobile home, you may have to consider the best pre-owned manufactured homes for sale in Michigan. However, keep in mind that any such structure manufactured before 1976 is called a mobile home, not a manufactured home, and will probably not be up to HUD standards. After that, all homes like this are called manufactured homes. However, the terms still remain interchangeable.
A Single-Wide or Single-Section Manufactured Home
The manufactured housing industry has a wide range of options for every homeowner’s needs. There are different floor plans that can accommodate various kinds of occupants within the same square footage.
A single-wide manufactured home is obviously less expensive than a double-wide. It is also small enough for a highway lane, so you don’t have to pay for as much on-site work when bringing it on a site.
In November 2021, a new single-wide manufactured home was around $76,400. Their size range is around 784 to 1,440 square feet.
A Double-Wide or Double-Section Manufactured Home
Double-wide manufactured homes are usually double the square footage of standard single-wide homes in the same area (or from the same manufacturer). It is also usually double the price, but you might be able to get a good deal with some manufacturers or double-wide mobile home dealers.
When a double-wide arrives on the site, it is usually in two parts or sections. These are assembled at the site itself, since the resulting home is usually too large to transport safely.
The large size of a double-wide home also means that you can customize it on many levels. This may include both the interior floor plan as well as the exterior appearance. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, new double-section manufactured homes cost around $139,000 as of November 2021.
There are even large mobile homes called triple-wides. They naturally have a lot more square feet than a double-wide, but aren’t as common.
Customizing a Manufactured Home
Before we settle on the cost of a manufactured home, there is also the matter of counting customization costs. Some manufactured homes can also have add-ons like attached garages or patios. So, you will have to factor in the cost of these as well.
The customization costs for a custom manufactured home can range from minimal to pricey, depending on various factors. These include:
- The scale of the project you have in mind
- The quality of materials you use
- The quantity of materials you plan to use
- The cost and quantity of labor required
- The hours of work you lose if it’s a DIY project
- Your location
- The kind of customization; cosmetic customization usually costs less than adding a square foot or so to the property
What Kind of Customizations Can We Add to Our Manufactured Home?
A carport, garage, or additional room will be a major customization for manufactured homes. Not every manufactured home owner will consider these. However, many such owners will consider the following features and customizations at some point:
- Adding or upgrading cabinets in the kitchen area
- Plumbing features
- Partitions in the rooms to make smaller areas
- Knocking down a wall to make a larger room
- A fireplace
- A patio with doors
- A surround sound system
Some of these customizations and add-ons can be great for your manufactured home and even increase its value. However, keep in mind that any shoddy projects can cause the value of a manufactured home to go down. If you are not experienced in these projects yourself, calling in a professional is the best idea.
Also, do not greenlight any project until you have read up on the life expectancy of a manufactured home.
The Cost of a Manufactured Home’s Site
Since a manufactured home is built in a factory, you need to evaluate the land in detail. If you already own the land and are planning to get a manufactured home on top of it, you have to consider several additional costs. These are:
- The cost of the land
- The property taxes it incurs
- Any costs incurred in getting the land ready to hold the manufactured home – clearing away grass, leveling, etc.
- Grade work for designing a proper drainage system
The cost of the work will overall depend on what kind of land it is. The number of trees it has, the soil type, and other factors will determine the final cost. These costs are non-negotiable if you want your manufactured home to be safe and stable.
Buying in a Community
Many manufactured home owners may choose to rent space within a manufactured home community or mobile home park. There are several of these options scattered all over the U.S., but they vary according to size, cost, conditions, and general atmosphere.
It is possible to purchase a manufactured home in a mobile home park or a manufactured home community. However, the land under the home will still belong to the landlord or company that owns the mobile home park.
There is still a bit of stigma attached to living in structures that are not traditional houses. This mindset is slowly changing, though, as several manufactured home communities offer a safe and peaceful neighborhood, tight security, and amenities like clubhouses, pools, and tennis courts.
What to Know Before Purchasing a Manufactured Home in a Community
Before you decide to purchase any manufactured homes for sale within a community or park, make sure to check the lease thoroughly. You may want to buy an existing manufactured home that already sits on their property. If you already have a manufactured home of your own, you should be allowed to bring it in.
Some communities will include perks like lawn care and trash pickup in their services. Others may have certain rules in place, which control what you can and can’t do while living there. To avoid any unpleasant situations, you should read all the documents, negotiate, and decide accordingly.
The Cost of Moving a Manufactured Home
If you are planning to move your manufactured home somewhere else, or just move it from the factory to a site, these costs will also factor into your financial decisions.
While manufactured homes may be called mobile homes, they are not caravans or RVs. Some manufactured home moves are transport-only, while others require a full-service move. Let’s have a quick look at what this means:
This sort of move means that a towing vehicle takes the manufactured home to the new desired location. This may cost anywhere from $700 to $3,500.
This move means that manufactured home movers disconnect all the utilities and structures. Once the manufactured home gets to the new destination, you connect new utilities and carry on.
The full-service move is the more expensive of the two options. It is also the more beneficial one, since you can move the manufactured home safely and get new utilities when moving back in. This may cost anywhere from $3,000 to $14,000.
A full-service move is probably what you need the most. Ask questions and make some calculations; you might be able to save some of the cost by doing some of the work yourself. For this, try figuring out what a layman can do and call in a professional for the rest.
What to Consider Before Buying a Mobile Home or Manufactured Home
Before buying either a mobile home or manufactured home, a buyer should consider the following factors:
It is a Different Process
The purchase process for buying a mobile home is a bit different than for buying a site-built home. If you are doing this for the first time, make sure to read up on everything you need to know about buying a manufactured home.
The Type of Ownership
Even the way in which you own a mobile home is unconventional. The title deeds you get here are more like that of a car than a house. Unlike site-built homes, you don’t get a property deed.
Even if the square foot measurements are the same as small site-built homes, the manufactured home will not count as traditional housing. On the bright side, this will save you a bit on property taxes (but there are other taxes to consider).
Due to manufactured homes being under the category of personal property, it won’t be eligible for most traditional mortgage or value-added loans.
Most other lenders may not finance manufactured homes, especially if they are moved or moveable. In order to get a standard 30-year VA loan, the homes have to be fixed to a permanent foundation and under the real property classification. There are also some other requirements, but fulfilling all of these would mean that they are not classified as manufactured homes anymore.
The best bet is to have enough cash on hand so you can easily finalize your purchase.
Unlike site-built homes, manufactured homes are also liable to depreciate in value as time goes by. Real estate usually increases in value with time.
However, you might be able to take advantage of a sweet spot when it comes to purchasing mobile homes or manufactured homes. Find out the best time to buy a manufactured home, and then purchase one for between $25,000 and $50,000.
If you maintain the manufactured home and keep it up to date, the value is not likely to depreciate much within the range. That is a plus point.
Inspect Before Buying
You do not have to pay for a thorough professional inspection for all the mobile homes under consideration. There is a simplified inspection that should reveal anything problematic. It consists of just four points:
- The roof
- The electric system
- The plumbing system and network
- The heating and air conditioning system
Any issues with the systems listed above will be the most problematic and the most expensive ones to repair. As long as these seem to be in working order, you may go ahead with the manufactured home purchase. Even new manufactured homes might have some issues in these systems, so a quick inspection like this can reveal whether buying it is a good idea or not.
The Maintenance is Similar, but Cheaper
The necessary mobile home maintenance for most manufactured homes is usually the same as for site-built homes. This means that you won’t have to call in a specialized tradesperson for any maintenance and repairs. If you are handy yourself, the mobile home DIY upgrading projects will be around the same as well.
Since the manufactured home will have fewer square feet than a regular home, the footprint will be smaller, and, therefore, less expensive to maintain.
It is evident that ample living space and energy-efficiency of a double-wide mobile home will give much more value than a stick-built home. The exact cost of a new manufactured home will vary widely depending on the local requirements, square feet measurements, and policies of the mobile home park.
The average sales price of a new manufactured home might run up to tens of thousands of dollars. While you may have to look outside conventional loans for making this purchase possible, it is still a viable investment in many ways. When you are ready to sell and cash in, check out our guide to selling a mobile home in Michigan.